Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Smeargate": a distraction from real problems

Why self-referential poison is bad for all political blogging.

My old friend Adam was right. I think of all the conversations we had when he told me he's not interested in politics because "it's boring and full of dirty tricks", while I was trying to persuade him that that bit is just a smokescreen to keep people nicely tame and apathetic.

And so when you look at the latest scandal (oh-my-god) concerning a couple of Labour Party spin doctors who were trying to smear some Tories and were caught red-handed by someone who smears politicians for a living and now is acting all prim and prissy, the surprise is not that there was a scandal.

The surprise, instead, consists in the tons of undeserved attention being given to this perfect example of the cannibalistic hoity-toity back-stabbing feast that is exactly what puts people off politics.

Ask most people outside the inner circle and the perception is that politics remains a self-perpetuating exercise for the very few, which has absolutely FA to do with the daily issues affecting workers, the increasing ranks of non-workers and their families.

'Blogging' was routinely hailed as a new tool to bypass the machinations of professional 'spin doctors', an alternative to the tired favour-trading world of conventional journalism.

For the last twenty-four hours, however, while people in Britain have been losing jobs at a rate of 138,000 a month and the crisis is being used to stage an unprecedented attack on workers' pay and conditions, the greatest majority of UK blogs, left right and centre, have been gawping at this latest, completely futile backroom-gossip centred around a handful of self-important rumour merchants gagging for increased website traffic.

So how to best sum up this 'circle of smear'?...Gutter politics? Middle class problems? Irrelevant back-stabbing? The 'discovery of hot water', like my dad would call it?

No, perhaps, more to the point, just boring crap.


Anita said...

This time I don't quite agree.
This latest "smeargate", as it's been called, is important to expose the true nature of New Labour.

These are people who would stop at nothing to cling on to power, like we've seen so many times.

The fact that it happened to be Guido Fawkes aka Paul Staines that exposed it shoudln't detract from the fact that New Labour are using such techniques.

Mike Power said...

Calm down dear! Paul Staines is ONE blogger. He has ONE blog. Perhaps if certain left leaning bloggers hadn't devoted quite so much time to building him up as the Beelzebub of Blogging you, and others, would have seen him for what he is, just a shit-stirring, gossip-monger which, to be fair to the man, is all he's ever claimed to be. And relax...

Stan Moss said...

Mike Power,
what's all this "calm down calm down" business? U doin a Harry Enfield impression or something?

Interesting how you walk in here with all guns blazing and then you shout "calm down and relax!"

Paul Staines is one blog?
Sure it is, but it's bleedin dull.

Anonymous said...

Removing scum from positions of leadership is always a good thing esp in the teeth of a craven and cowed NuLabour meeja.

Sunny said...

Excellent point.... though perhaps I'm guilty myself of paying far too much attention to this bullshit too.

Paul Morden said...

The article raises a good point. The relevance of smeargate to the lives of most people is negligible to put it mildly.

Silent Hunter said...

Smeargate?.....A Distraction?

Yeah! YOU WISH !